Thursday, October 20, 2011

Genesis 45:1-5

Confession is so good for the soul! Haven’t you seen in your own life that when you ‘fess up to your failures and accept your responsibility for the messes you’ve made that the way is opened to forgiveness? When Judah humbly came to Joseph ready to pay the price for their sin, it opened up Joseph’s heart to his brothers. Finally, he could contain himself no more, and the floodgates opened:

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. (Gen 45:1-3)

As Beth Moore says, some moments are family moments, when it is time to send everyone else not in the clan out of the room. I’m certain Joseph’s attendants must have been completely baffled by his unusual behavior. They didn’t even have to put a glass to the door to listen to his cries - and it didn’t take them long to pass the news along to Pharaoh’s household! Talk about a news bulletin: "Joseph Comes Unglued!"

When he revealed himself to his brothers, they were terrified! Imagine their shock to find their “dead” brother, not only alive, but in such a place of high power. Joseph was in a perfect place to exact revenge, so I’m certain their chins had dropped to the floor and their knees knocked! The dark family secret was finally out in the open. Again, I’m wondering what Benjamin was thinking as Joseph uncovered the story, which was a far cry from the one he had grown up with!

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. (vs.4-5)

I’m certain that Joseph, up to this point, must have harbored some bitterness or anger - that maybe even he was not fully aware of. He had made a purposeful decision to forget what his brothers had done when he named his first son Manasseh, or forget. But whatever resentment he had harbored was completely released here, like the air out of a popped balloon. He draws his brothers close to him and assures them of their pardon, exhorting them to let go of their guilt and to see God’s plan and purpose in sending Joseph to Egypt. Wow! Don’t you wish we could carry that attitude with us always, so that, when the challenges face us we would alway respond with such grace and understanding of God’s sovereignty an absolute love for us?

Joseph was completely convinced of the goodness of God NO MATTER WHAT! And he had certainly been given years of opportunities to grow to this point. He had seen God’s faithfulness through so much injustice and personal suffering. We’ll see later in this same chapter how different this was from the character of his father, Jacob. And because He had experienced the mercies of God, he was able to turn around and extend them to his brothers.

If we harbor resentment and fail to look for God’s blessings in the midst of our trials, we will be unable to extend grace to others. And we will become the kind of person that others want to avoid! If you have a bent toward negativism and criticism, and if you feel burdened by the trials placed upon you, ask God to help you have the eyes of Joseph that LOOKED for God in everything, and ask him for the heart of Joseph that extended love and forgiveness to his undeserving brothers. After all, aren’t we ALL undeserving?? So much more great stuff to come in this chapter. . .


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